India to begin vaccinating children aged 12 to 14 years old from March 16


India will begin vaccinating children aged 12 to 14 years old on March 16 as part of an expansion of its COVID-19 immunisation programme, according to the government.

Tweeting the announcement in Hindi, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, “if the children are safe then the country is safe! I am happy to inform that the COVID vaccination of children in the age group of 12 to 13 and 13 to 14 is starting from March 16. Also, everyone aged 60 years and above will now be able to get precaution doses.”

Mandaviya also urged the families of children and people in the age group of 60 years and above that they must get the vaccination done.

India began administering precaution doses of COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers, frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with co-morbidities, from January 10 amid a spike in coronavirus infections fuelled by the Omicron variant of the virus in the country.

Co-morbidity is no longer a requirement for patients aged 60 and up to receive a prophylactic dose. Booster injections are now available to everyone in that age group. India saw a further dip in daily COVID-19 cases as 2,503 new infections were recorded, the lowest since May, 2020, while the active cases dipped to 36,168, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.

With the fresh cases, the total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 4,29,93,494.

The death count climbed to 5,15,877 with 27 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated.

The active cases comprise 0.08 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate further improved to 98.72 per cent, the ministry said.

A reduction of 1,901 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. The number of cases is the lowest since May 4, 2020.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, measles, polio and other vaccines were out of reach for 20 million children below the age of one every year. Over 13 million children below the age of one globally did not receive any vaccines at all in 2018, many of whom live in countries with weak health systems. Given the current disruptions, this could create pathways to disastrous outbreaks in 2020 and well beyond.